Microsoft's worldwide head of cloud and hosting has insisted that long-standing, traditional partners as well as emerging cloud-only partners are able to cash in on cloud.
Aziz Benmalek, Microsoft's vice president for hosting and cloud services, told CRN that Microsoft is not interested in a partner's history, but is focused only on its business model. All that counts is that a reseller is committed to cloud in the future, he said.
"The partner type, in fact, doesn't matter," he added. "What matters is the business model moving forward. The critical business models that are important to us as a company in the cloud-first world are the IP providers – that's traditional ISVs as well as IP providers in cloud services – and managed services providers. They are the business models that are really important to us."
During CRN's recent Born in the Cloud series, many such partners have insisted that they, instead of traditional players, are best placed to deliver cloud services to customers. But Benmalek said that cloud is an opportunity for its whole channel.
"When you look at the traditional LSPs and traditional partners we have worked with for many years, they are transforming as well into these business models," he said. "Many of them are creating a managed services organisation and some of them are going into IP services as well to complement their managed services too.
"It's more about the transformation of the ecosystem rather than new versus old. Lots of them are evolving and transforming."
Benmalek added that regardless of the type of company which gets on board with cloud, keeping up with the changing technology is essential for Microsoft partners.
"The beauty of the cloud and the exciting piece of the cloud is the wide range of services in the cloud space," he said. "It has really opened a huge opportunity. With Office 365, there are lots of opportunities ranging from productivity, messaging and collaboration, SharePoint and Skype for Business, voice and Power BI. There is a lot of value added when you drill down into Office 365 alone, not even talking about other services on top of that.
"Additional managed services, innovation and adding value will become even more critical. Keeping up in the cloud space is very important."
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